NEW YORK—Microsoft announced its next-generation version of Office, named Office 2010, at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans today. Office 2010 is slated to come in three versions, including an online, free version that can be accessed from the web browser.
But industry pundits say that the announcement will drum up little excitement and offers little in terms of new features, and that the free web version is simply a reaction to Google's announcement of its Chrome operating system as well as Google's online office applications such as Google Docs, which have been online since 2005.
Among the three versions of Microsoft's Office 2010 product will be two online versions. One will be the free version that can be run by individual consumers on their web browsers.
Microsoft will also be hosting a business version of the online Office suite at its data centers, which can be used by companies for a fee. Premium customers can also host the web-based version at their own data centers.
The third version is the regular Office suite that can be installed on desktop computers.
Industry pundits say that the announcement of the new Office and Microsoft's plans are little more than a reaction from Microsoft, which feels threatened by Google's dominance in the search market, and increasingly in web services.
Microsoft and Google have played a high-stakes version of tit-for-tat recently. After their failed effort to take over Yahoo last year, Microsoft succesfully launched the Bing search engine, which helped boost traffic to Microsoft's online sites, but served to dent Google's market share by only a bit.
Google's announcement of the Chrome operating system last week seemed to be aimed at the heart of Microsoft's dominant software empire—the Windows operating system.